As I write my year-end column and reflect back on 2017, I realize there was very little in the news that made me smile, only tragedy after tragedy both nature-made and people-made.
My own life had no major life changing events either — no marathons, weddings, or graduations to report. As a result, I had to reflect deeper on the ‘little’ highlights that made this past year special.
Here are the little highlights that made me smile this past year:
1. My Birthday Surprise. I received the best gift for my birthday and Mother’s Day this year. To surprise me, my daughter, Jenna, and her boyfriend flew in from Tampa and my son, Drew, took a train from Champaign. My husband, our kids, and I spent a fabulous, sunny day in Chicago discovering the underground tunnels that wind beneath the city to end up in Millennium park. We finished the night at The Safehouse Restaurant, a spy-themed restaurant that made us a laugh a lot.
2. Drew’s Acceptance. My son was accepted into the Computer Science program at U of IL as a sophomore – a highly competitive major needing at least an A- average, plus other accomplishments, to even be eligible.
3. Jenna’s Europe Trip. Enjoying my daughter’s pictures and stories from her first trip to Europe and realizing she did it very differently than I did when I backpacked Europe back in 1988.
4. Quiet time at home watching reruns of The Big Bang Theory
5. Weekly trips to the Botanic Garden with my mom and Drew. Drew would go for a 7 mile run through the garden and the Skokie Lagoons and then meet us for lunch.
6. Kayaking with my girlfriends in the Skokie Lagoons.
7. The Rhiannon Giddens concert in Chicago. We went to see The Rhiannon Giddens concert with Steve and our friends, the Lazars – I cannot rave enough about this astounding artist who won a MacArthur Grant – check out her TED talk.
8. Ravinia with Steve to hear Fitz and the Tantrums and One Republic
8. Going to St. Pete and Tampa farmer’s markets in February with my mom and Jenna
9. Going shopping with Drew
10. Listening to books on Audible
11. “Wait, Wait, Don’t tell me” in Millennium Park with our friends, the Pfeifers.
12. Creating videos for The Manual Touch YouTube page with Steve and Drew
13. Running in the snow on Christmas Eve
Wishing you the joy that comes from all the little highlights in your life, peace, and good health this holiday season and into the new year!
I’d love to hear about your highlights. What made you smile this past year? Shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me your little (or big!) highlights. I’d love to hear them.